On Monday, Connor Hendry was sentenced to only 180 days in jail after being found guilty in a sexual assault case on campus. In June of 2016, Brock Turner was charged with rape and sentenced to six months of jail time. He only served three.
180 days is a few days shy of 6 months. Hendry will serve less than half a year for a crime that has already negatively impacted the survivor’s life for far longer than the sentence he'll serve. He deserves to serve longer; the punishment he received is not long enough.
During Brock Turner’s court case there was a lack of support for the victim because of Turner's athletic background. In reports on this case, numerous articles highlighted his swim records and athletic status. The judge, among others, used this reasoning to justify a lesser punishment.
According to the judge, “a prison sentence would have a severe impact on him. I think he will not be a danger to others.”
The judge was recalled from his office just a few months after this statement. “He was the first California jurist recalled from the bench in 86 years,” according to USA Today.
Hendry was even able to have his original sentencing date moved. According to court documents, he would not be in town was due to a “family vacation” which had been previously planned. Even though he had already plead guilty to the charges, the judicial system still allowed him to go on vacation as if nothing had happened.
With sentencing like Hendry’s and Turner’s, it’s hard to believe our judicial system really cares about the victims.
All people should be held accountable for their actions, especially in the case of affecting another person’s life. Survivors of sexual assault are left to cope with the trauma they've experienced, oftentimes for many years after the assault. They are forced to deal with this trauma because of someone else’s choice. It will never be fair to have a rapist serve a few months in prison when the survivor must deal with the effects for years to come. Consent is a lesson we must learn at a young age.
In the era of the Me Too movement we need to show our support to victims who step forward.
If we are going to call for women to come forward, if we are going to say we believe them and want justice for them, then we have to hold the courts accountable when they fail to produce sufficient sentences.
This doesn’t feel like justice.